Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day One

The refrigerator arrived, double boxed with layers of packing peanuts and foam in between.  It was clearly labeled "fragile" on all sides.  Still, someone managed to droop it hard enough during transit to put a big dent in the side.  Thanks UPS.  No time to file a claim or wait for an exchange, we checked that it still worked and lugged it aboard.  There was some debate as to where to put it.  We finally decided on right in the middle, between the two benches of the breakfast nook.  It was easy to access, well ventilated, and required the least amount of modification to the boat.  As an added advantage, it created an extra counter top for food preparation.  


Our final night in Ft. Lauderdale we went to the grocery store one last time to stock up on beer and perishable foods.  The next morning, the day before Thanksgiving, we cast off the dock lines, motored down the river, and out of the harbor into the open Atlantic.  Because we'd ended up motoring both legs of our shakedown cruise, this was our first time setting sails.  Immediately things went wrong.  

The halyards on the mast were hopelessly tangled.  While Becca manned the helm, Mark, Nate, and I worked at untangling them.  There was much shouting and wild gesturing as we squinted at the top of the mast, mouths agape.  Finally, with a plan of action decided upon, we swung from our respective halyards, weaving in and out on the lurching deck, in a demented maypole dance.  

When we were able to raise the mainsail the three of us retired to the cockpit to set the jib.  It was now that we discovered the port winch had seized up over the Summer and was useless.  More teamwork, grunting, and shouting got the jib in place without the use of mechanical advantage.  

With sails set, Becca dropped the next surprise of the morning when she explained that our compass was frozen on 120 degrees.  Delightful.  I got out a wrench, detached the compass from the bulkhead, and gently rolled it around to shake the dial free.  The compass dial flipped upside down and stayed that way.  Somehow it had broken free of the plastic globe it was cased in.  Unfixable.  We still had on board a handheld orienteering compass and the compass built into the chartplotter.  Neither was nearly as convenient or easy to use.  

I briefly considered turning back to Ft. Lauderdale but, by the time we would get back, shops would be closed for Thanksgiving weekend.  No one felt like waiting another four days.  We would press on.  

Discovered wedged in a cubby during the repacking process was an old bottle of champagne, given to Pete and I when we set sail from Woods Hole, MA.  It had somehow been lost and forgotten in a cabinet.  Sails straining at their sheets, Strolla charging through the waves, this champagne was now brought out to celebrate our first real day underway.  As it was still morning, we mixed it with orange juice.  

The seas weren't rough, but they were rougher than the canals of the Intercoastal.  Everyone except Mark was feeling a little fragile.  The mimosas were a bad choice.  No one threw up, but after the first sip no one was smiling much either.  Mark ended up finishing my glass as well as the rest of the bottle and managed to be happy and unhelpful for the rest of the morning.  

Arriving in Miami, we settled in the same anchorage we'd had on our shakedown cruise.  I cooked our first meal aboard.  Macaroni with velveeta cheese, diced onions and fried spam, all washed down with beer.  Everyone declared it a success.

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